Pets for Life

February 11, 2011 § Leave a comment

The Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) of Singapore is responsible for food safety and the protection of animals, fish, and plants. The scope of work that AVA conducts is not only arduous, but also a serious matter of life and death. I imagine AVA officers zipped up in their bio-suits, ready to be dispatched when they are called for duty. There is, however, a softer side to AVA as I have recently discovered—this other side of AVA is one of public educator. 

AVA has launched their latest public campaign: ‘A Pet Is For Life’. The primary aim of this outreach program is to educate the public about responsible pet ownership and discourage the impulse buying of pet animals. I think this is especially pertinent for families with young children that may be considering getting a pet.

The Pets for Life website is adorably cute and was probably designed with children in mind. This kid-friendly website is easy to navigate and has lots of neat features. There are educational articles about pet care, laws of pet ownership, and being a considerate pet owner.

Kids will have fun with some of the quizzes and games (even I gave PETMAN a try!). You can download archived campaign posters, videos, publications, as well as send out e-greetings to friends and family. There is also a ‘News’ page with a calendar listing of upcoming events, or your can join the mailing list and be kept up-to-date.

I’m happy to see that AVA is taking initiatives to raise public awareness about animal welfare and instilling this awareness in children when they are at a young and impressionable age. Pet ownership is a long-term commitment and I think parents, too, need to be fully aware of the costs and practicalities of bringing a pet into the family. A rabbit, for example, has an average lifespan of eight to ten years! As this is the Year of the Rabbit, several local animal welfare organizations have been actively curbing the impulse buying of bunnies as ‘good luck’ charms:

Deirdre Moss, Executive Director of the SPCA [Singapore], adds “Following the last Year of the Rabbit in 1999, 635 abandoned pet rabbits were taken in by the SPCA—this represented a 116 per cent increase from the year before. We certainly hope that this coming Lunar Year of the Rabbit will not see a repeat of people buying them on a whim, to bring luck. As it is, we have seen too many abandoned and neglected rabbits in the past two years, totalling 1,200 (SPCA, 2010, http://www.spca.org.sg/pressrelease/yearofrabbitposter.pdf).

It takes time for animal welfare messages to get across, but I am optimistic that there will be a change of tides as a new generation of animal advocates becomes more attuned and vocal following Jane Goodall’s ethics: 

If only we can overcome cruelty, to human and animal, with love and compassion we shall stand at the threshold of a new era in human moral and spiritual evolution – and realize, at last, our most unique quality: humanity.

To end this note, Maple has delivered her Momsy and Popsy an appreciation card and reminder to be responsible pet owners…

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